Left: The Star by Edgar Degas, 1878. Right: An outfit from the latest couture collection of the House of Worth, by Giovanni Bedin.
I went to the Royal Opera House for the incredible performance of Giselle by the Royal Ballet last week. It was truly enchanting, breathtaking and one of those moments when you forget about everything, and just enjoy the beauty.
If ballet originated in the Renaissance courts of the 15th Century, it has inspired many films, musicians, and artists since. Look at Edgar Degas, one of the pioneers of impressionism whose work revolved around the subject, both in painting and sculpture, and who has produced some of the most wonderful depictions of ballet rehearsals, dancers on stage and arabesques.
On his canvases, the little dancers always look so light it looks like they are going to fly away like doves, and their tutus seem to be made of feathers and cotton candy. I have always found ballerinas’ outfits fascinating, so elegant, understated and pure. Even today, they feed into our daily fashions: from ballet pumps, to leggings, skating skirts and tulle.
Many of today’s brands have taken inspiration from the most classic of the dance disciplines. First, ultimate ballet superbrand Repetto, whose founder Rose Repetto is said to have created her first ballet pumps for her son Roland Petit in 1947. Recently, jack-of-all-trades Karl Lagerfeld also created the costumes of Swan Lake for the Royal Ballet – referencing Coco Chanel’s love for ballet and liaison with composer Stravinski.
But the most recent example that stroke me is the revival of the first ever Couture house: the House of Worth. Originally created by English designer Charles Frederick Worth in the 19th century, the house had been closed for over 50 years until young designer Giovanni Bedin brought it to back life a few months ago. The Italian designer, who started as an assistant for Karl Lagerfeld, has been heavily inspired by ballet for one of the most delicate, intricate and detailed couture collections to date: corsets to make even Dita Von Teese jealous, tight bodices, layers of antique lace, pleats of tulle, exaggerated tutus, handmade embroidery.
After a Fall/ Winter collection that seemed the antithesis of his £6,000 a piece Couture offer – all light and airy whites – Giovanni Bedin is now rumoured to be launching a ready-to-wear collection this February available at Browns. I very much look forward to following the Worth saga, and see what becomes of the cult house.